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How is Seattle's higher minimum wage affecting local restaurants?

Point of Sale at a Restaurant
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Many workers in Seattle received a pay bump this January, when new minimum wage standards went into effect.

The change depended on the size of the company you work for — most got around $1 more per hour. The new minimum wage arrives at a time when local restaurants are struggling with inflated costs for food and supplies, on top of already slim profit margins.

And restaurant workers who make minimum wage? They’re facing rising costs too — including rent hikes — while navigating unpredictable schedules and changing customer behavior on tipping.

How is the Seattle restaurant industry surviving the new normal?

It’s about six weeks since the new wages took effect, and Soundside wanted to check in with a restaurant owner and a worker for a gut check on how things are going.

But to start, we talked with Seattle Times food writer Jackie Varriano, who wrote an article titled, "How Seattle’s new minimum wage impacts restaurants, workers and customers."

Shota Nakajima, owner of Taku in Capitol Hill, joined us to give the restaurant owner's perspective.

Finally, an hourly employee at one of Seattle's larger restaurant groups talked to us about the ground level worker's point of view. We are respecting her request to not share her name or where she works to help keep her job safe.

You can listen to the entire conversation by clicking the play button above or listening to the Soundside podcast wherever you download your shows.

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